Dear Blake,

Somewhere along the way, my son decided his mother and I are not able to take care of our own home anymore. We are in our late-60s and in excellent health and very active, but there it is.

I don’t mind him helping me out when I have a project that could use an extra set of hands, but it drives me nuts when he embarks on a project he deems necessary, and then either doesn’t follow through and finish it, or does a half-assed job of it and I have to step in and get it the way it should be, even though it wasn’t necessary in the first place!

We both appreciate his wanting to be helpful. It shows his heart is in the right place, and that makes us proud of the man he is. But how do we squelch his impulse to make our world a better place, whether we want him to or not?

Signed, Alisha
From Austin, Texas

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Dear Alvin,

It sounds to me like your son is being an overbearing self-imposing pest. And because you and your wife appear to be sensitive loving parents, you two need to stop him other than saying what an incompetent boneheaded repairman he is. Here are some other options you may want to consider. If he volunteers to fix something like a household appliance, furniture, etc., tell him not to bother because you plan on throwing it away. And if he wants to fix part of your actual house, always keep near you a “for sale” sign, and tell him that you’re placing on the front lawn before the day is out. If his “efforts” makes things worse, hire a professional to correct what your son ruined, and send him the bill. If he doesn’t pay promptly, then immediately sue him. Or use him as a weapon, and recommend his services to a friend or family member that you secretly can’t stand. And this last idea might permanently resolve the problem. Buy a 19th century electric chair. Tell him you want to restore it to the point where it is fully functional. Try to persuade him to sit in it to run a test, and then flick the switch. But as an act of courtesy to your neighbors, don’t do it at night so the street lights won’t dim during the power drain. I hope this helps.